Emergencies preparedness, response

Ebola diaries: Making things work in a desperate situation

Dr Olu Olushayo, deployed to Sierra Leone to coordinate the WHO response to Ebola virus disease.
WHO/C. Black

2 July 2015 -- One year ago, when Dr Olushayo arrived to coordinate the WHO Ebola response in Sierra Leone, he found not only an outbreak on a scale beyond his worst imaginings but myriad problems that needed complex solutions. Even where funds were available, there were not enough ambulances in the country, not enough Ebola treatment beds, not enough nurses and other healthcare workers as fast as needed.

Helping Guinean communities fight Ebola

A father explains the issues facing his family and what he understands about the Ebola epidemic, Guinea
WHO/P. Haughton

26 June 2015 - In May 2015, cases of Ebola began to appear in Tanene, Dubreka Prefecture, Guinea, an area that had previously been unaffected. To ensure the outbreak does not spread, WHO and partners have launched a surveillance campaign to find individuals who might be infected. Through household visits, a presence on prefecture streets and conversations with influential members of key community groups, surveillance teams are spreading the message about Ebola and providing support to families.

Ebola response in action

Ebola dashboard: WHO response to the outbreak

4 June 2015 -- Since notifying the world of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa on 23 March 2014, WHO has, in partnership with the international health community, mobilized its largest ever outbreak response. WHO’s public health expertise, linkages with government and technical networks are unparalleled. This enables collaboration across multiple UN agencies, mobilization of foreign medical teams, deployment of specialized laboratories, training, delivery of millions of sets of personal protective equipment, and rapid development of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics.

Ebola: Health worker infections

Ebola Treatment Centre, Liberia
WHO/M. Seeger

23 May 2015 -- Health workers have borne the brunt of the west african Ebola outbreak, not only working tirelessly to treat the sick but risking their lives every time they went to work. A new WHO report into health worker infections has found that health workers are between 21 and 32 times more likely to be infected with Ebola than people in the general population. It has also shown that such infections can be prevented - health worker infection rates have dropped considerably as measures to prevent infection improved.

News and top stories

Our vision

An integrated global alert and response system for epidemics and other public health emergencies based on strong national public health systems and capacity and an effective international system for coordinated response.

Core functions

  • Support Member States for the implementation of national capacities for epidemic preparedness and response in the context of the IHR(2005), including laboratory capacities and early warning alert and response systems;
  • Support national and international training programmes for epidemic preparedness and response;
  • Coordinate and support Member States for pandemic and seasonal influenza preparedness and response;
  • Develop standardized approaches for readiness and response to major epidemic-prone diseases (e.g. meningitis, yellow fever, plague);
  • Strengthen biosafety, biosecurity and readiness for outbreaks of dangerous and emerging pathogens outbreaks (e.g. SARS, viral haemorrhagic fevers); Maintain and further develop a global operational platform to support outbreak response and support regional offices in implementation at regional level.

Latest publications

Website for Information and Communication Technologies for Public Health Emergency Management launched

Contact us:


Global Infection Prevention and Control Network (GIPC Network) Launch

WHO Unit on Disease Control in Humanitarian Emergencies - DCE

Natural ventilation design project website launched

Communicable disease alert and response for mass gatherings